Hard economic times call for drastic measures; at least that’s what Consumer Reports is calling the latest trend to hit the retail and food industries. Have you noticed lately that the quantity or even quality of what is being purchased in stores right now is reducing while the price tag remains the same? This is the retail industry’s response to the roller coaster recession. Hiking prices is too obvious and scares consumers away. But… if you skimp on materials and market it as something new and improved, you can trick consumers into buying less for the same amount of money as previous.
Case in point: Hershey has on store shelves right now a brand of Hershey’s Kisses that are filled with air bubbles. We, the consumers, are supposed to believe that these Kisses are new, exciting, and fun. But, in reality, you’re receiving less chocolate for the same price as Kisses without air bubbles. Thereby, you’re getting less for more.
And that’s only one example. Remember when bags of chips actually had chips filled to the top? Now, when you buy a bag of chips, you’re lucky if the bag is half full; but, rest assured, those potato chips are more expensive now than they were years ago. Where will it end? Will we one day be buying eleven eggs for the price of a dozen?
Food is not the only industry feeling the tightening of the purse strings; clothing makers are cutting corners too. Did you know that adding extra stitching, buttons, and pockets to a piece of clothing can more than double the cost of that piece of clothing? It didn’t used to be that way, but buying that shirt or blouse with just a bit more glam in today’s market means you’re paying too much. While some mark up price for these added flares, others are charging the same price as usual while using less fabric. By producing garments that are sheerer and have less stitching, clothing makers can mass produce clothes that are cheap to make but cost the same to us, yet at the same time calling it the latest hottest trend.
Unfortunately, these cuts in manufacturing spill into many other facets of our consumer driven world. And unless you are well versed in recognizing these cuts before you hit the checkout line, then you are like the rest of us whom have fallen victim. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to really pay attention to how a product is marketed. Look closely at “diet portion” or “new and improved” or any other sign that the product has changed somehow. If a product is being reintroduced, know what has changed about it. Knowing what changed about the product will give some insight as to whether or not it’s still a good deal. One good indication in judging a deal is how much the product weighs. Ok, so you can’t use this advice on buying a new car, but for food and clothing, if it feels lighter than it should, you’re probably getting less for more.
Image Credit: Consumerist